Drug addiction 'rampant,' says volunteer in wake of Ron Hynes death

A former addict and volunteer in Carbonear says drug use is on the rise in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Jeff Bourne and Tammy Bourne are addictions counsellors at U-Turn Drop-in Centre in Carbonear. (CBC)

Jeff Bourne didn't need to read Joel Thomas Hynes's pointed Facebook post about the grip of his uncle's addictions to realize there's a gap in the system for those trying to kick their drug dependence.

Bourne, who runs U-Turn Drop-in Centre in Carbonear, said addiction in Newfoundland and Labrador is "rampant."

He was responding to the comments made by Hynes, a recovering addict himself, who said his famed uncle Ron Hynes was killed by his addiction, even though he had been battling cancer.

'It's getting worse everyday'

"I read [Thomas Hynes's post] and I got really teary eyed, and at the same time on Facebook I got an inbox message from a friend of mine that I've been dealing with now the last year and a half and he pretty much told me that he can't fight no more," Bourne told the St. John's Morning Show Thursday.

"He's at the end of his road."

Ron Hynes, "the man of a thousand songs," died on Nov. 19 at age 64. (CBC archive photo)

While the provincial government has put money towards addictions and mental health services in recent years, Bourne said addicts are still falling through the cracks.

"It's getting worse everyday," said Bourne, who has operated the addictions counseling centre for four years.

"The age [of users] get younger and the severity of people using what they're using is getting worse day by day."

More money

In Hynes's Facebook post, which has been shared widely, the musician, writer and actor demanded that the Newfoundland and Labrador government do more for those struggling with drugs.

"With all that money came more drugs than our little island could possibly cope with. And after all that nothing has been done — we're in a recession now for another ten years," wrote Hynes.

Bourne believes money is a factor, but also points to the effect that drug testing in Alberta and in the offshore industry has on drug use.

"If you did a binge of cocaine for the first week you're home, well, the second week it [kind of] goes out of your system," he said. 

"But if you smoke a draw of weed it takes 90 days for that to come out of your system."

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